I like that you can start anywhere on the body instead of the feet as done traditionally.
After a yoga class I have done a little of the rocking Thai on my students in relaxation since it is a good way to help them to relax more fully. Particularly, the rocking of the legs moving all the way up to the hips.
I find it very interesting that each body has it's own natural rhythm based on their weight, tensions held and willingness to be relaxed or even touched. The rhythm I usually work with is fast but when I use the slower pace you show on your video, it brings a sense of compassion into the work.
The tools described in this first module such as wiggle, circling, swinging, slow rock and fast rock have helped me to change up my traditional approach to Thai massage.
When used at the end of a class on my students during Savasana pose (I usually give each student at least 3 - 5 minutes of rocking Thai) I notice that the comments afterward are usually that they feel a sense of stimulated energy flow from the rocking but also a sense of comfort.
I have used the Chi Machine on my clients and found that it works well but that I tend to squeeze the heel a little too hard sometimes. I can tell by the clients face that I am squeezing too hard, or they will flinch to get free. I am learning to loosen my grip and this works well. I also tend to use just my arms and shoulders instead of my entire body which makes me tense and I get tired more easily. I am quite strong and need to remember to back off a little to deliver the "less is more" philosophy and to use my entire body as a way for us both to relax. I have also explored doing a one legged Chi Machine and then both which I like being done to me when receiving. Afterward, I leave the body to receive the work and only place my hands lightly on the feet for a connection.
I absolutely LOVE the single leg traction rock. My only problem is that some of my clients have rather loose ankles and I can hear the bones move and the whole foot feels like it is being pulled out of the socket and not in a good way. I ask if it feels bad, they usually don't say that it hurts, but with these clients I have tried to hold the foot a little higher above the ankle and have had success with it.
My clients who have had this done to them have remarked that it really helps to loosen up their hips and they have even reported chiropractic releases! They leave happy and I am happy to have a new way to help them.
Finally, I found the discussion on the way the feet fall in a reclined position showing the state of the hips to be very helpful. I now know where to focus my efforts when I see a restriction there.
I am pretty sure that you will find many more ways of expanding the traditional view of Thai Massage in this course. Rocking is normally not done at all here in Thailand although some western practitioners use it and of course all the students of this course. For me it has been one of the main ways how I was able to take Thai Massage to a whole new level.
Regarding module 2 it seems that you figured out yourself where you need improvement.
I have also had quite a few cases where the ankles felt too loose to comfortably do the leg traction rocking. You came up with one work-around, and there is also nothing wrong with skipping techniques on people whose body is not well suited for a particular move.
Another issue can be people with hyper extended knees. The Chi Machine doesn't work for them (even if you don't apply Bonnie's special vise grip).
"Chiropractic" releases tend to occur quite frequently when you do spinal twists which you will get to later in the course.
Thank you for your response to my last review of module 2.
As I work with the hip openers that you introduce in Mod. 3 I find it to be so easy to locate and work with the clients who have tight hips using the technique that you demonstrate. However, I work a lot on yoga students who don't have as much issues in the hips. This is especially helpful with my male clients who usually have tight hips.
This module showed me many different ways to open the hips, low back, upper back and thighs. Using traction as you rock the knee towards the body effects the body so much more effectively. I was taught using the Traditional Thai routine, which never rocked the knee in this position, but only had 3 points to hold the leg (between knee and hip flexor) as you use traction to bring the hip, and hopefully the back, into a release. How many times have I pulled, to the detriment of my own back, trying to give a client some release in this position and had all but given up using it, except with lighter weight clients. It is very difficult to get any release from large clients in the hips and back using the traditional approach to this posture. I absolutely love how much it helps to rock the knee to the inner body before adding the traction. Genius~!
I have used the "tree pose hip rock" as I have renamed it, to further open the back and hips and appreciate your knowledge on where to place the hands on men vs. women.
Again, I have learned the Traditional way to do the hip releases and your way of rocking the leg inward towards the opposite shoulder is very effective for my students who practice yoga and can handle a deeper stretch.
My question is: what do you do when the clients other leg is lifting at the knee or hip when rocking the opposite knee into the positions you show? Do you want the other leg to lie flat as your model is able to do? Or, if the leg does come up, is that a way to know that the client has gone past their comfortable "edge"?
When you work with the rotating rocking type motion in the hip flexor, this is a good way for me to help my students in yoga class who seem to have this same issue in that area. I do not have that issue, but I hear many students give feedback in yoga class, that there is discomfort there.
This brings me to ask the question: Is there work to be done specifically around and in the groin area? I have a male client who has asked me to work most specifically in this intimate area. I am not shy to do it if there is a routine to follow and not just go groping around in there? I believe it would be quite beneficial and would feel good as well.
I love the whole idea of the "rocking wave" where the body feels the stretch, but I never have to ask the question "is this too much?"
Thank you for your wonderful approach to this amazing modality of healing touch!
Thank you for showing the transition moving from side to side on the client as you rock them. I still find it hard to do with large clients. I have to be quite agile and long limbed to make it a smooth transition. I do use the movement #3 for large clients to make sure everyone gets the benefits of your rocking Thai course!
To tell the truth, I get so into the "flow" sometimes that I lose track of where your teaching comes in and my own "dance" begins.
But, that is the beauty of this work, isn't it?
Hip, groin, belly and rib cage connected with the rocking belly moves. I actually love the first technique and have added my own little touch to it. When you have the client's butt on your thighs and you are doing the faster rock, I lean forward and place my hands on either side of the back ribcage and offer a rocking motion that runs from the upper back (as far as I can reach with out straining or infringing on the client's personal space) all the way to the belly, groin, hips, and thighs.
I guess I just got carried away one day while practicing and thought "why not?" and it works well with the clients who's body fits mine in this way.
The Belly Sandwich is also a very popular way to relax the client. I prefer using the thumb technique as it just feels a bit like getting some Shiatsu with your Thai and I am always looking for ways to incorporate a Shiatsu feeling into some of the practice.
I saw those limitations of traditional Thai Massage very clearly and that's why I came up with the Thai Rocking system. It just flows better, is less intense for the client and also easier on the therapist. I could never go back to linear only Thai Massage.
The other knee will lift easily unless someone is quite flexible. There is nothing wrong with that knee coming up a bit. However if it comes up massively, then you are taking the stretch too far, and now the body is compensating by pulling the other knee up. So it does not have to stay on the mat, but should not come up a lot.
Regarding working in the groin - I do work in the groin and on the medial side of the ilium. The issue of course is that you are working quite closely to the genitals. You cannot do that on everyone for those reasons and many therapists are hesitant to work there anyway.
However if the right therapist-client relationship is there, it can be very useful and therapeutic to work those areas. I just spent an hour doing exactly this on my wife last night since she was locked up there and had pain in there.
I use my fingertips and the edge of my hand doing circling, wiggling, scooping or rocking movements in this area. I have had clients who really needed it and even requested it, including male clients although those were kind of rare cases.
It's one of those skills that you don't use a lot, but I think it is an important skill to have in your repertoire. I do show some more groin techniques in my Thai Hip Therapy course.
And there is no need to distinguish between my teaching and your dance - the flow is the best place to be, and adding your own creativity to what you learn from me is definitely the best way to go. I am sure that nobody will ever learn Thai Massage well by just following a routine mechanically.
The work on the chest and upper body. I had to laugh listening to you try to describe how lightly you need to flow the hands and body in this area and not to have "clutsy hands" as you put it!
When I do the technique between the breast, I tend to only use my fingertips and it is so much better when I remember to use the entire hand in a soft approach to moving the area of the heart. You can just feel the release of the client as you move into this area with compassion and respect for the skin and body type.
Spinal twists and shoulder rocking.
This was a simple and easy way to get very effective work done for the spine and back muscles as well as a wonderful way to open between the shoulders. The only problem I have is that I don't always sit comfortably on my heels. So, I just had to make a body adjustment for me, which was to sit up on a firm pillow or yoga bolster to give me the height to get the work done most comfortably.
Thank you for the feedback on my reviews. I have done all the modules over the past 3 months and as you know have had trouble getting my reviews on the web format. However, today it is snowing all day and schools and colleges are closed. So, I took advantage of my college age son being home and he helped me to get my reviews up and running! Sorry to inundate you with it all at once. But, here is what I found from working with this module...
I have used the arm swinging with pressure or stability at the shoulder and with out the stability at the shoulder. I hesitated to use it before learning the rocking Thai approach as it seemed to "wake up" the client, so to speak. But, with so much rocking going on with this style, the client is not disturbed.
The rhythmic breath and body leaning in and away from the client in the "rolling pin" arm work, is especially nice. Anything that gets me into a flow with the client is very helpful for me to be more comfortable and to get into that dance with the client state.
What can I say about the Sacrum Rock, except that everyone really does love it! I had my husband do it to me and I now know why! It loosens up the entire body, from low back, hips and upper body.
I had a little trouble with the transition from one side to the other, but then I noticed that you show in your video that you are not keeping the same pressure on the sacrum and glutes as you transition, which makes it much easier to do. I figure it is alright as long as the client does not feel a stopping or disruption in the flow of the rocking on the sacrum.
I have found with the circular fashion hand moves, on the sacrum and glutes, that some clients don't prefer to lie flat on their bellies due to a sensitive low back. They say it feels like too much of a back bend for too long. So, I just put a small pillow or folded blanket under their hips and groin and they are comfortable and I can do the rocking!
The breathing/rhythm method of rocking the back is fascinating. I actually like to put specific music on that lends itself to a 4 count inhale and a 4 count exhale or the 3/1 count for the rounds.
Last one Shama!
I really appreciate the rhythm's you speak of as I am queen of rhythm when it comes to Thai massage. Even before I saw your video, I was looking for ways to rock with my clients. You have very clearly shown me how to make the rhythm much more comfortable for my clients and myself!
Working in the Groove and on the erector muscles is very similar to the traditional method I have learned. We work on the clients back as they sit up in front of you. I do the exact same thing as you show, with me sitting behind the client and never thought of doing it with them in a prone position. It is very soothing for the client, where as in the sitting up version there is a lot more rocking of the client in a forward and back way and I had to have them put their hands down on the mat in front of them between their open legs to keep them stable as I rocked them. My clients seem to prefer your way of doing their back! There is no pressure on their hands or shoulders doing it your way ;0)
I am the person with their scapula glued to their back and I love the percussion movement when done to me.
The rocking, circular shoulder movement in the prone position usually gets a happy sigh from the clients but when I rock the shoulder higher for the stretch, they always say how wonderful it feels!
In regards to the transitioning, you are correct, the idea is not to maintain the pressure with the hands, but to maintain body contact and the continuity of the rocking motion.
Rhythmic rocking moves combined with conscious breathing is like a trance inducing element. It balances the energy in the entire body. I am glad that this is right up your alley!